The Independent Record’s Youth Movement Continues with New Managing Editor


Just when the spectacle at the Independent Record seems like it couldn’t get more absurd, the story manages to get worse. Tomorrow, the paper, which represents Montana’s capital city, will announce the hiring of a brand-new managing editor to run the venerable community institution.

Given the staffing turmoil at the paper in the past few months, did Lee Enterprises and publisher Randy Rickman turn to some crusty veteran with experience in print and online media? Did they find an experienced hand to guide the paper through challenging times?

Not exactly.

The IR’s new managing editor, Holly Michels,  has almost half a decade of reporting experience at the Montana Standard and Ravalli Republic, and currently works as a night city editor at the Billings Gazette, a position she has held for little more than two years.

Now, it’s certainly possible that Ms. Michels will be an excellent editor, but her resume is certainly different than the IR’s last managing editor, who brought this experience with him to the IR:

Larcombe has been the editor and general manager of Montana Magazine for the past five years. Prior to coming to Helena, he worked for about 18 years at the Great Falls Tribune in a variety of roles, including reporter, photographer, business editor and regional editor. He worked as the Flathead Valley correspondent for the Missoulian newspaper for several years prior to joining the Tribune.

Experience matters, whether it’s a reporter covering a beat or an editor making critical news decisions. It matters for its impact on quality reporting and presentation.

It just doesn’t seem to matter as much as corporate profiteering.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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G. JohnsonSam SmileyMatthew KoehlerCraig Moore Recent comment authors
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Craig Moore
Craig Moore

Corporate profiteering?????

As I recall Lee Enterprises filed for bankruptcy last December and the IR laid off staff. Has there been a dramatic turnaround at the IR since then? Perhaps you were mesmerized when Buffet bought 3.2% of Lee’s stock.

Matthew Koehler
Matthew Koehler

Perhaps this is one of the reasons we have seen, and will continue to see, very little in the way of investigative reporting coming from any of the Montana Lee Newspapers dealing with the Coal Train issue….one of the most important Montana environmental issues of our generation.

Sam Smiley
Sam Smiley

This is another laughable move by the Incompetent Record under the current publisher Randy Rickman. As he is prone to blog trolling these days, I’m sure he’ll offer up a canned response full of blasphemisms and other grammatical errors about how he knows so much more than any of us so we should just butt out of his business. Any concerns of hiring a managing editor for the state capital newspaper who has no managerial experience must be fabricated, too, right? Just like the demise of newspapers in general? Under Rickman’s “leadership,” to use the term lightly, the work force… Read more »

G. Johnson
G. Johnson

An interesting admission from a Lee paper in Idaho:

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